Sample material: To get you started

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

If you know what you’d like to say but aren’t sure how to say it, here are some lines you can adapt for you speech

The welcome

  • Thank you all for coming and sharing this special day with Nicola and John.
  • I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being here. I know that some of you have had to come further than others, but you are all welcome guests on this happy day/night.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, I’m delighted to see so many of you here today to celebrate the marriage of my daughter Nicola to John.


  • Nicola and John have worked very hard to pay for today, and it’s been worth it. This is a lovely meal/reception, and everything looks perfect. I’m proud of the pair of you.
  • Weddings are not cheap occasions, but my little girl/daughter deserves the best and, as you can see, she’s got it. This would not have been possible without the generous help of John’s parents, George and Amy.
  • The wedding has taken a lot of time and patience to organise, and decisions have sometimes been difficult to reach [make a small joke about the struggle it was to decide between a sophisticated colour scheme or an outrageous one of pink with yellow spots], but I’m really delighted that everything turned out well. In particular, I’d like to thank the florist/Minster/bridesmaids for the amount of trouble they have gone to. Everything/the church/the hall/the hotels/the bouquet looks/look wonderful.

The bride

  • I have always known that Nicola is a beautiful woman, but I have never seen her look quite so beautiful or so radiant as she does today, I’m extremely proud of her.
  • Nicola has had many roles in life… (for example, daughter, fiance, student, air hostess, etc.) but never has she looked more beautiful than as a bride.
  • When Nicola told me that she was going to get married, I was worried that she wouldn’t be my little girl any more but, seeing her today as a beautiful bride, I realise that, no matter how old she is, she will always be my little girl, and I love her.
  • The elegant/beautiful/radiant/lovely bride is a far cry from the Nicola I remember so well, who was always in trouble for being messy/muddy/late/a tomboy/scruffy, but, no matter what she looks like, I love her and am very proud to be her father.


  • I am not Nicola’s father but I know that he would have been so proud of her today, as I am.
  • Nicola has been my comfort and joy, and I am honoured that she chose me to give this speech.
  • As Nicola’s brother, I am supposed to be nasty to her and pull her hair to remind her that I am older than she is. Trouble is, she looks too gorgeous today. Still, I am very proud to be giving her away on behalf of our family. John, please look after her!

Welcome the groom

  • John is one of that rare breed of men ‐‐ he really is as good/sincere/wonderful/perfect/much of a creep as he appears, and I am absolutely delighted to welcome him into our/my family.
  • Nicola always claimed that she would never get married/find the right man/love anyone/be happy, but she was wrong. In John she has found the perfect partner, and I am delighted he has become a part of my/our family.
  • What can I say about John? He is a great/perfect/lovely/wonderful/good man, and no one else would be as perfect for my daughter/Nicola. I’m delighted that he’s decided to become part of the family.

General chat

This is your chance to make a few gentle jokes, but nothing crude or offensive. You might even want to quote something or recite a poem.


  • Marriage, as I know all too well, is about compromise and, to keep things running smoothly, it’s good to talk. However, as Helen Rowland said, “Before marriage, a man will lie awake thinking about something you said; after marriage, he’ll fall asleep before you finish saying it.”
  • The best guarantee for a peaceful marriage is simple ‐‐ lie. If she asks you if you’ve done whatever you’ve forgotten to do, say that you have and then do it. If he catches you doing something you shouldn’t, say you did it as a surprise for him. Men are stupid; they’ll believe anything, or at least pretend to, for a peaceful life!
  • Nicola always said that she’d never find that special someone, but I’m delighted to see that she has. I just want to read something now because it seems so appropriate and expresses exactly what I mean. It’s called Destiny and is by Sir Edwin Arnold:


Somewhere there waiteth in this word of ours

For one lone soul another lonely soul,

Each choosing each through all the weary hours,

And meeting strangely at one sudden goal.

Then blend they, like green leaves with golden flowers,

Into one beautiful and perfect whole;

And life’s long night is ended, and the way

Lies open onward to eternal day.

  • You may think that this wedding has cost a lot but, as Goethe said, “The sum which two married people owe to one another defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through all eternity.” I wonder if their bank manager would believe that?
  • As a certain German philosopher once said: “To marry is to halve your rights and double your duties”, but if that were all there is to it, then none of us would get married in the first place. I’m delighted that Nicola and John have taken the plunge, otherwise none of us would be here enjoying this fine champagne/wine/beer/tap water.


The toast

By the time you get to the toast, it’s almost time for you to sit down ‐‐ but not quite. Finish with a flourish and then relax ‐‐ the rest of the day/evening/night is yours to enjoy!


  • Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding. I give you… the bride and groom
  • Ladies and gentlemen, please charge your glasses. I give you… the bride and groom
  • Honoured guests, please join me in the traditional toast. I give you… the bride and groom.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise your glasses. I give you… the bride and groom

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